Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe

The Ardennes Offensive

Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
with Chris Townley

Working for Battlefront obviously has a number of perks, one of the more obvious ones if being able to contribute in one way or another to the development of new products. For me the Bulge Briefings were certainly very close to my own heart, as the Battle of the Bulge has a part of the war that I have found interesting since my youth.

The initial interest was triggered by the 1965 movie Battle of the Bulge and whilst the tanks may have been wrong, the action was enthralling. Years later, that interest is definitely still there and my bookshelf has a number of great books that I have picked up over the years to feed that enthusiasm.

The Ardennes Offensive
In December 1944 the German forces on the Western Front made one last major push in the Ardennes and Alsace-Lorraine, trying to split the Allied forces in half and force them to negotiate a peace treaty. It was a daring all-or-nothing gamble.

Learn more about The Ardennes Offensive here...

The Ardennes Offensive: German Forces in Lorraine and the Ardennes, September 1944 - February 1945
I found my interest split between two Bulge lists; the US Fortified Infantry Company which excited me from a gaming perspective, and the 150. Panzerbrigade Kamfgruppe from a pure coolness point of view. 150. Panzerbrigade Kamfgruppe represents the forces in Otto Skorzeny's Operation Griffin. The role of these three companies (Kampfgruppen X, Y and Z) was advance ahead of the German offensive once the initial breakthrough has been made. The plan dictated that they would be well equipped with American equipment and English speaking soldiers so they could mix in with the retreating Americans, capturing key points and giving following German units an opening to seize upon.

Read Chris' article on building a Perimeter Outpost here...
Below: Skorzeny's Commando Groups wreak havoc behind enemy lines.
Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
The reality of situation was rather different; with a limited number of troops and equipment available for use, the resulting units was very German looking with a few oddities thrown in! The company diagram does a great job of representing the mixture of units available and lets you field any of the three Kampfgruppes individually, or the combined force that attacked at Malmédy.
Below: The 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe Company Diagram.
Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
150. Panzerbrigade in Flames Of War
Special Rules
A 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe uses all of the normal German special rules found on pages 241 to 245 of the rulebook. In addition they also use the Concerted Effort and Enemy Disguises special rules below, and the Skorzeny Commando Groups special rules.

When it comes to building this company I'd love to show you pictures of my painted army, however the army is still in the conception phase rather than assembled, painted or finished. Here is the list I have been playing around with a bit of Theory-Flames.
150. Panzerbrigade Kamfgruppe
150. Panzerbrigade Kamfgruppe HQ
Company HQ
55 points
upgraded to Command Panzerfaust SMG teams.
20 points
upgraded Captured Jeeps to Sd Kfz 250 half-tracks.
20 points
Combat Platoons
Ersatz Panther Platoon
550 points
with three Ersatz Panthers  
Fallschirmkommando Platoon 265 points
with three Fallschirmjager Squads  
upgraded to a Command Panzerfaust SMG team

10 points

Weapons Platoons
Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon
220 points

with three Panzergrenadier Squads - Although I'd be tempted to replace some of the Sd Kfz 251's with 250's and M3's just for looks. I’d also add a sprinkling of the new Winter range of US Infantry to add to the overall look of the platoon.

Anti-tank Gun Platoon
205 points

with four 7.5cm PaK40 Anti-tank guns - Once again I'd be tempted to use American M5 3" guns (USO503) purely for looks as that was what the planned TO&E had.

Heavy Mortar Platoon
160 points
with four 12cm sGW43 mortars
Brigade Support Platoons
Ersatz Panzerspäh Platoon
135 points
with three Captured M8 Greyhounds
Skorzeny Commando Group
100 points
with two Skorzeny Commando teams
1740 points
Below: The Ersatz Panther Platoon advance.
Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
Concerted Effort
During the Ardennes offensive the Heer, SS, and Luftwaffe ground troops all worked together in a concerted effort to break through the US lines and push them back towards France. With the enemy at the doorstep of the Reich, the petty squabbles of earlier years have faded into insignificance.

Heer and Waffen-SS platoons in a 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe company ignore the Reich Divided rule (see page 242 of the rulebook) and do not treat each other as Allies.

My theory is to maximise my number of units that benefit from the Enemy Disguises rule allowing me to get the drop on the enemy and hopefully making up for any of the weaknesses that the company might have given that it is short of anti-tank assets. Additionally, the Fearless Veteran Company HQ backing up the Confident Veteran platoons means that the company should stick around on the table for a long time, letting me get the most out of each platoon.
Below: An Ersatz StuG Platoon moves out.
Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
Enemy Disguises
Skorzeny’s troops used captured trucks and painted all of their vehicles green with white stars. The disguises weren’t perfect, but they took whatever advantage they could.

A platoon equipped with Enemy Disguises must be Identified before the enemy can shoot at it or assault it. These units start the game unidentified. If a platoon equipped with Enemy Disguises shoots, conducts anti-aircraft fire, or launches an assault, they are immediately Identified by all enemy platoons.

In order to Identify a platoon equipped with Enemy Disguises, an enemy platoon must attempt to shoot at it or select it as the target for an Artillery Bombardment. Before rolling To Hit or Range In, the platoon rolls a Skill Test.

• If they pass the Skill Test, they Identify the German platoon and shoot at or bombard it as normal. The German unit is now Identified to all enemy platoons.

• If they fail, they do not Identify the unit, but may shoot at or bombard other German platoons instead.

Enemy Recce teams that attempt to shoot at or bombard a platoon equipped with Enemy Disguises automatically Identify them if they are within 8”/20cm.

An AOP or Bunker cannot Identify a platoon equipped with Enemy Disguises. Aircraft cannot choose a team that has not been Identified as the target of an air strike.

If I find myself defending, the PaK40s make a nice Ambush platoon whilst the tanks find a safe position to engage any incoming enemy troops. As for my third defending platoon I can pick something that works best against my opponents list. The remaining platoons are either mobile enough to get to the fight quickly, or are just going to drop on the table (in the case of the Heavy Mortar Platoon) and start firing as soon as possible.
Below: The Skorzeny Commando Group redirect American forces.
Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
I've been trying to work out how to tweak the list and on Wednesday night when I was writing this up I thought I came up with the perfect combination of modifcations until it was pointed out to me that my list was a little illegal (thanks Bullyboy... lucky for me the whole list is still stuck in the planning phase!). So now I find myself trying to work out how to fit in some ME-262s or more PaK40s in to give me a little more anti-tank power. If you have a suggestion for me then weight in with your thoughts in this forum thread.
Below: The Me 262 strafes an American convoy.
Building 150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
Either way, 150. Panzerbrigade Kamfgruppe presents some cool modelling opportunities and offers a variety of different tools that I can use to make life very difficult for my opponents. As long as I play up to my potential!

~ Chris.